12 July 2018

Libya: African Migrants Deaths Escalate At Mediterranean Sea

Tripoli — MORE than 1 400 people, mostly African migrants, have this year drowned in the treacherous routes in the Mediterranean Sea in an attempt to reach Europe by boat.

This is less than half the deaths of people that have died while migrating in search of greener pastures since the beginning of the year.

The International Office of Migration's (IOM's) Missing Migrants Project has now recorded 1 422 people who have lost their lives at sea in the Mediterranean during the period.

In total, the IOM project has documented the deaths of 2 138 people during migrations to Europe in 2018.

Libya, torn by eternal conflict since the invasion by international forces Muammar al-Gaddafi out of power, is the gateway to Europe for migrants from across sub-Saharan Africa.

Many are fleeing war, poverty or persecution.

Christine Petré, IOM spokeswoman in Libya, said since last week, the remains of eight migrants were found offshore the troubled North African country.

She added that so far this year, the Libyan Coast Guard had retuned 11 311 migrants to the Libyan shore.

Meanwhile, IOM reported 47 637 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through this past Sunday.

The total compares to 101 392 arrivals at this time last year and over 239 492 the same period in 2016.

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